Working mothers care more about having flexible hours after returning to work than spending more time at home while on leave, according to a survey by TheLadders. When asked to prioritize six work scenarios, the majority (44%) of working mothers chose flexibility as most important versus only 5% who said they would opt for longer maternity leave.

TheLadders polled more than 250 women who are, or will soon be, working mothers. In addition to flexible hours and more time off, the working mothers ranked the scenarios as follows:

  • Ability to work from home29%
  • Convenient working hour: 20%
  • On-site day care2%
  • Generous paternity leave0%

Other key survey findings:

  • She works hard for the money. The number-one reason respondents returned to work is for "financial reasons," although resuming employment because they "enjoy their career" is a close second. Needing benefits (health/child care) and just wanting to "get out of the house" were less motivating reasons.
  • You like me, you really like me. When asked how having a child impacts the way that working mothers feel they are regarded by coworkers, almost half (42%) felt their colleagues are "supportive and understanding," while 18% believe that others "behaved the same." Almost a quarter (24%) said their coworkers are "supportive, but don't understand my situation" and a frustrated 16% said that their teammates are "resentful of my competing priorities or schedule."
  • It's a balancing act. Balancing a career and a family is a huge struggle for 87% of respondents with 55% admitting that "excelling at both is overwhelming." Thirteen percent "struggled at first, but now it's under control." Sixteen percent always put family first and work has suffered for it," and 3% "always put work first and family has suffered for it."

TheLadders is a career-focused online service that specializes in the 100K plus job search.